"Way Down in the Hole" as written by and Tom Waits....
When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well, I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
If you walk with Jesus
He's gonna save your soul
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole

He's got the fire and the fury
At his command
Well, you don't have to worry
If you hold on to Jesus' hand
We'll all be safe from Satan
When the thunder rolls
We just gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole

All the angels sing
About Jesus' mighty sword
And they'll shield you with their wings
And keep you close to the lord
Don't pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole

Down in the hole, down in the hole
Down in the hole, down in the hole
Down in the hole, down in the hole
You gotta help me keep the devil
Down in the hole

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Way Down in the Hole" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © Jalma Music

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Way Down in the Hole song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty sure the season four theme was performed by some Baltimore locals. I am anxious to see who they use for season five. I'd be shocked if they broke tradition and used a different theme. As long as they don't go for some kind of bmore hip hop angle I'm sure it will be ok.

    as far as the lyrics themselves are concerned, I interpret them as having to do with struggling with alcoholism.
    ictlwon December 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI do assume that Tom Waits is being ironic here, in the same way The Violent Femmes seem ironic when they sing "Jesus Walking on the Water". However, regardless of how he intended it, you don't have to take it that way. I'm sure he was drawing from similar lyrics from old songs. My ipod has a lot of songs, but this was coincidentally followed by "A Sinners Death (I am Dying)" by Roy Acuff. Like Johnny Cash singing that God will "cut you down", Roy is not being ironic. Acuff or Cash could sing these lyrics and you would take the meaning at face value. It's a cool song since you can easily equate "the devil" and "temptation" with non-religious concepts like "alcoholsim" though, as someone above mentioned.
    clovuson December 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Abyssinian Baptist Choir recorded a live album in the 50's I think entitled 'Shakin' the Rafters'. I don't know but I'd almost put money on Tom getting some inspiration from that album for this track, especially heard on his 'Big Time' version. Great track and shakin the rafters also a great listen for anyone interested in black gospel. One of my fav albums.
    mrsiegalon May 31, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think "the devil" is a metaphor for the bad things that happen in our life. we gotta keep it down in the hole so we only get good, enjoyable things
    mr093242on May 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFranks Wild Years follow Frank, a man on the bottom rung. I like to think all songs relate to him somehow. This is the part where he turns to religion as a remedy for his problems, again falling to escapism.
    Brassfinchon January 01, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIf you watch the HBO series, "The Wire," then you already know that this song is the show's theme. For season one, they used an excellent cover version by the Blind Boys of Alabama. For season two, they changed it up and used the original version by Tom. Season three starts this fall, and I can't wait to see what they'll do with it next!
    driggsyon June 05, 2004   Link
  • -1
    General CommentJon Dee Graham also recorded a killer version of this song – you can find it on his album "Hooray For The Moon".
    Diego8978on February 21, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe Neville Brothers did the season 3 version. It was great. Awesome song all around.
    Relapseron April 11, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI first heard Tom Waits thanks to The Wire...and all I have to say is I thought he was black
    Shep420on September 12, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe Wire is the SHIT! Season 4 has a good version of this song.Couldnt wait for season 5!
    crainingson June 16, 2007   Link

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